Dow Dips, in Preparation for Worst Quarter Ever

Stocks were mixed on Tuesday, the last day of the first quarter, as investors wrapped up a period of historic market volatility sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 14.8 points to 22,312.68.

The Dow is now up 20% from its coronavirus selloff low reached on March 23 while the S&P 500 has risen more than 17% from those levels.

The broader S&P 500 inched up 0.81 points to 2,627.46,

The NASDAQ gained 54.44 points to 7,828.59.

Despite the recent comeback, the market is on pace to end the month and quarter with big losses.

The Dow is down 12% in March, on pace for its worst month since October 2008.

The S&P 500 is down 11% in March, also on pace for its worst month since 2008.

The Dow is down 21.8% this quarter, on track for its worst quarter since 1987 and its worst first quarter ever.

The S&P 500 is off 18.7% this quarter, on track for its worst quarter since 2008 and its worst first quarter since 1938.

Many on Wall Street are calling for even more selling before the market can hit a bottom. Historically, bear markets are often punctuated by sharp bounces on their way down to a trough.

The market pared losses in morning trading after data showed U.S. consumer confidence dropped less than expected in March. The Conference Board said Tuesday its consumer confidence index dropped to 120 this month from 132.6 in February, beating expectations of 110, according to Dow Jones.

The Chicago PMI came in at 47.8 for March, well above estimates of 39, but still signaled a contraction in business activity.

Goldman Sachs is also expecting a sharp rise in the U.S. unemployment rate. The bank said it sees unemployment reaching 15% along with a 34% GDP contraction. However, Goldman expects that decline to be followed by the fastest recovery in history.

Investors continued to grapple with the worsening outbreak in the U.S. as the confirmed cases rose to more than 153,200, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has also officially become the country most affected. Trump said Sunday he hopes the country will "be well on our way to recovery" by June 1.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury dawdled late in the day, hiking yields to 0.71% from Monday’s 0.71%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices grabbed 47 cents to $20.56 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices subsided $18.30 to $1,624.90 U.S. an ounce.

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